Currently, data sharing in health care systems in Thailand is experiencing difficulties to exchange and share health care information, there are several challenges such as having fragmented information systems with varying standards and formats, this is leading to interoperability issues to exchange information and lacking of well-defined governance framework and technology, resources and fund to conduct, manage and protect to promote responsible health data sharing.
If I were in charge of a data set in Thailand, I would certainly be thinking about health data sharing in health informatics.
1. This can improve public health in Thailand, sharing healthcare data can help to identify patterns and trends of diseases and the outbreak as well we to enable public health officials to respond more effectively to potential outbreaks and implement preventive measures. For example, data sharing could be contributed and exchanged as one stop service to public health improvement by Thai authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic due to there are too many apps of Covid-19 tracking record that have been developed by Thai authorities (e.g. Mor Chana app, Mor Prom app). Based on my experience, I used to utilize a centralized electronic health record system in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s called “My Health Record” app that is easy to connect upon registration (linked personal information from MyGov account) and the app has been implemented to access med history, COVID-19 tests, vaccine management and so on in only one app, more information is available: https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/.
2. Sharing health data can help to collaborate with different healthcare institutions and support stakeholders to work together to exchange resources and find solutions as well as to contribute and implement health care systems in Thailand. This can be smoother referrals and transitions of care between healthcare institutions. For example, if a patient needs to be transferred from a primary care clinic or private med center to a main hospital according to Thailand has a barrier to exchange and transfer, if this can be implemented sharing health data can help to reduce duplicated tests and time to proceed with further interventions.
3. Sharing health data can help supporting research/study, researchers is able to use the data to conduct studies in medical science and health care improvement and to identify new treatment methods or develop innovative solutions to healthcare challenges. For example, researchers can access various resources of health data from different health care institutions (hospitals, clinics, research institutions, and other agencies) to conduct and develop drug trials or treatment improvements.
4. Sharing health data can help health care providers to access quickly and make decisions in the event of emergency such as the pandemic or natural disasters, having health care data is available is crucial to support health care providers to proceed with further steps of resource allocation, and coordination of efforts to mitigate the impact of emergencies on public health.
5. This can improve communication and collaboration between healthcare providers, institutions, and patients. These stakeholders have the ability to access to health information and they can coordinate and work together more effectively. And this can enhance patient centered care and they may feel trustworthy when patients have the ability to access and review their own health information. To build trust and strengthens among stakeholders in health care services.
6. Sharing health data can protect and provide access controls of patient confidentiality that they contains sensitive information about individual medical conditions/treatments and personal information according to data protection laws and regulations in Thailand such as Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). This can lead to build patient trust and relations between health care providers and patients to coordinate care, make informed decisions and achieve better health outcomes for patients.
Health data sharing in Thailand faces significant challenges, including fragmented information systems, interoperability issues, and a lack of governance, technology, resources, and funding. These obstacles delay the promotion of responsible data sharing practices for improving public health, building collaboration, supporting research, enabling emergency response, enhancing communication, and safeguarding patient confidentiality.